Lifelong Learning Programme

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Title of the Experience
Chemical inorganic nomenclature
Name of the teacher
Laura Capella
Country where it took place
School typology
Vocational School
Thematic Area
Experience typology
Teaching in class
Type of contact
Description of the Experience
Chemical nomenclature of inorganic compounds is a difficult obstacle to overcome during the High School first two years, in every kind of school, scientific or not (in Italy there are many different kinds of it).
The matter is of capital importance, not to say it could be bypassed.
In spite of this importance, you cannot dedicate a never-ending period of time, and often you reach it in the final part of the second year when students are about to be tired of a long period of study efforts. Sometimes I decided to dedicate a very long time to work with this topic, anyway they did not seem to learn it better than usual, and, moreover I had less time to make other important subjects. I tried other ways as introducing it in other periods of the year, and even contemporary to other matters like chemical reaction stoichiometry, just to make it more interesting or clearly useful to the comprehension of more interesting things, always without remarkably better results. The fundamental thing is that students don't want to learn a boring matter for which they don't see the utility.
So I decided to try a Cooperative Learning approach with this difficult matter.
I divided the class in groups of four students and assigned to them several nomenclature exercises to cope with. Exercises were of the following types: Formula to name and name to formula. I had already explained in a brief preliminar lesson, how to recognise and how to assign Oxidation Numbers for each Element present in a formula and another brief one about classification of binary compounds and the IUPAC's rules for naming them. Then I had given few precise instructions to make them know how to deal with the nomenclature work. (Afterwards I repeated it all with ternary compounds).

To make the procedure automatic you have to do quite a lot exercises, usually students don't do that unless they are compelled to. In this way everybody has to do the work and to pay attention, and they even have fun in doing that. Good work was done even in groups with no above average students.
The really important thing is to assign a precise job to everybody: for example a member of the group has to pay attention to the oxidize number of elements, while another member has to remember and assign compound class name and/or the precise name of the compound analysed. The most important job to assign is that somebody has to keep the attention on and to remember the others to be quiet and another key task is to stay on clock, to make sure there will be results in the assigned time.
The way in which the group has been able to work could be marked for real life competences, while afterwards a test should be done for chemical subject competences.
The test examination was quite good for everyone, because the procedure was thoroughly understood by everyone during the group work.

Comments on this Teachers Experience

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Date: 2014.11.26

Posted by Anita Krismane (Latvia)

Very good expierence. he proposed example is a model of good practice.

Date: 2014.11.10

Posted by Laura capella (Italy)

Thank you for the apreciating comment. You are right when you advertise that teacher has to make sure the smartest students solve the problem by itself. But you can somewhat make student do the job in turn, and, moreover,i ven if one student do more the others can learn more anyway from him/her than from the teacher, because of more effective peer interaction.

Date: 2014.11.09

Posted by Darina Dolešová (Slovakia)

I really like this experience, and I will certainly use it in the future. The nomenclature of inorganic compounds is also a problem for most of my students. Even though they have some knowledge from elementary school, I have to explain everything from the beginning. I consider this way of practicing formulas interesting for pupils. In group work they are also able to help each other and explain what they do not understand. It is the motivation for them to do their best when solving the tasks. They work without the stress of direct and immediate teacher´s assessment. They develop a sense of responsibility because everyone has a different role in the process of creating the formulas or their names. It is important for every student to participate, teacher have to be careful and not to let some students just watch and let the smarter ones solve the task.


Dissemination Seminar in Florence

31 October 2015 The seminar has been held in ITIS “A. Meucci” one of the schools involved within Goerudio project activities. Its main aim was to promote the results of the project toward a broad sample of stakeholders even overcrossing the number of people directly involved in the production of project outcomes. This purpose has been totally achieved especially thanks to the participation of students and teachers coming from different schools or from other classes instead of those ones directly involved within the project activities.